Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Finding the Motivation to Be Strong and Healthy

Bear with me a moment as I share a bit of my personal history.  It really helps you get a picture of where I’m at and how I got here, which has a lot to do with the topic of this post. 

I got married a month after I turned 19 to my wonderful husband.  I was generally healthy and weighed 134 lbs.  We started our family pretty quickly, having our first baby two weeks late and 2 days after our first wedding anniversary.  {grin} I gained 52 lbs during the pregnancy.  With lots of work and time I lost most of the weight. 

Then I got pregnant, gained weight, and had my first miscarriage.
Followed right away by Joseph’s pregnancy and weight gain (50+lbs).
I lost some of the weight, getting down to 182 lbs.
When Joseph turned 3 months old I got pregnant with Emma(pregnancy 4).
I gained weight.  Had Emma.  Lost part of the weight, but never again got below 185 lbs.

When Emma was still a baby I got pregnant and had my second miscarriage.
Followed by Daniel’s pregnancy and weight gain.
Then Oliver’s pregnancy and a smaller weight gain. 
Pregnancy #8 became my 3rd miscarriage. 
Then came Caleb, with a modest weight gain.  He was almost 4 months old when I got pregnant with Mason.  I weighed 195 lbs.
My 10th pregnancy in 11 years.  My 10th weight gain. I finished Mason’s pregnancy weighing 216 lbs.

Through it all my motivation to lose weight has fluctuated.  There hasn’t usually been enough time to lose all the weight I’ve collected over ten pregnancies.  Sometimes it seems pointless when I am generally pregnant again before the current baby turns 6 months old. 

Since Mason’s birth almost 4 months ago I’ve stayed semi-motivated.  My eating is better than it’s ever been and I’m exercising at least a few days a week.  I’m at my lowest weight in years, 188 lbs, and have lost all the weight I gained in Mason’s pregnancy plus some.  I also still have a long way to go. 

During my scripture study recently God gave me a huge push in the motivation department.  I was reading about a man lame from birth who was carried every day to the gate of the temple (Acts 3:2).  In the past I’ve skimmed right over the detail that he was carried every day.  This day, however, I noticed, and several thoughts came to my mind.  First was the faithfulness of those who carried him.  They are not named, we don’t know if the man was carried by his parents, his siblings, or his friends.  We do know he was a man.  He was not a child and carrying him must have been hard work. 

Then I felt a nudge.  God pointed out that my son is going to need lifted and carried at various times, even as a young man or adult.  It’s part and parcel with being a parapalegic.  I need to be strong enough, healthy enough to carry my son.  Even as he grows.

It was a perspective I hadn’t gained yet, a very motivating one.  What I’m doing today matters.  Every day that I choose to exercise and eat good food is a day that I strengthen my body to carry my son.  It’s not always easy to fit exercise in around seven sweet children, homeschooling, housework, medical appointments, and life in general.  As a matter of fact it’s downright difficult.  I get frustrated when every time I get 10 minutes into a workout somebody needs me right.this.minute.

After God’s lesson I realized I need to create my opportunity to work out.  I set a simple, maintainable goal, and told God about my plan.  Any time I wake up and the clock reads 5:00am or later I will get up and exercise.  If I happen to sleep in until my children get up then I’ll exercise later in the day if I can fit it in, and if not, no guilt. 

Want to know what’s funny?

God has woken me up at 5:00am every day since I set that goal.  No alarm clock, I just wake up.  I exercise, shower, and still have plenty of time to cook a healthy breakfast at 7:00am when my children wake up.

I am learning that God makes a way for us to do difficult, necessary things, even when we think there is no time available. 

What difficult, necessary thing is God asking you to do?  Have you asked for His help yet?  He’s waiting to help you!


  1. That is soo funny about waking up at 5 am since! Good for you!! I read both of your blogs and loved when you started this one. We have an 8 year old daughter and are finally having #2. We went to get the level 2 sono done bc I tested pos for the Downs blood test with my daughter, who is fine, and several other women in my family also tested pos but had healthy babies. Anywaysss... we were expecting nothing to be wrong in the sono as nothing was with our daughter, but there actually was lots of extra fluid on the back of her neck and the dr gave us an 80-85% chance she would have a chromosomal disorder. We are very close with several people with Downs children, but I thought of you very soon after the sono. We already adore the baby and will keep her no matter what (and honestly, I am not worried much about it anymore), but I just wanted to tell you that your blog gave me some comfort. Your son's condition is so far from easy and I admire the love you have for all of your children, your husband and God. I know your life is so completely blessed with all that you have been given, but I know it takes alot of work also. :) thanks again and have a great week!!

  2. I really appreciate this post. While weight is also an issue for me right now (never was before my early 30's), my biggest challenge/frustration is my lack of organization around my home. I am asking for help from my Heavenly Father, but you have inspired me to make a more specific plan, share it in prayer, and stick to it.

    BTW, one of the reasons I so enjoy reading your blogs, is that you are the complete opposite of me in this area. :-)

    Lisa (California)

  3. It's that darn asking that always gets in the way, but yet again He is patiently, lovingly guiding and helping. I loved this perspective that you gave and I'm glad you are getting the help to accomplish it.

  4. Don't you just love those gentle, specific to my life nudges you get from reading the scriptures? Love the insight, and I'm glad you are able to get in the exercise! I hope I can be equally motivated after I have the baby. Maybe we can be accountability buddies again!

  5. One of the things that I garnered from our home Bible study last night was the importance of taking care of our body so that we can tell the future generations about God and His works. We must be alive if we wish to tell the future generations. :)

    Anyway, wanted to mention what I've been doing as far as exercise goes, because it's excellent for a house full of kids and that scenario of someone needing you 10 minutes after you start. I've been doing peak 8's (Here is a link to a long post about the why's and how's - )

    Since I'm currently pregnant I consider how I feel during and after exercising and adjust if necessary. However, I always feel wonderful after doing this and have more energy to boot!

    This is how it works for me. I run up and down the stairs as fast as I can for 30 seconds, then I switch laundry from washer to dryer, pick up toys, tend to children, etc. for 90 seconds, then I run up and down the stairs as fast as I can for 30 more seconds and continue repeating until I've done 8 "peaks" (30 second intervals of all out exercise).

    As I said, I feel fabulous and have much better energy levels. Plus the added bonus that this is supposed to help with those hormone levels which, as you know, can really take a beating with lots of pregnancies.

    Oh, and in case you don't read the article, the recovery time between exercise sessions is important. So it's not necessary to exercise every day. ;)

    Love keeping up with how Mason is doing!

  6. Tristan, I have been following your blog for several months. We also homeschool, and we have a special needs child.
    I am struggling in some areas in my life, though they are not the same as your struggles, this post has been an answered prayer for me. Our God is so mighty, and I am grateful for him bringing your blog into my life.
    God Bless you and your family.

  7. I must admit that I have been having the same thoughts about being more healty. I know that you can get fit and stay that way! Keep up the good work.

  8. I have different reasons for realizing how badly I need to get fit, but I'm doing it, too!

  9. Bless you as you remain faithful to the calling of Motherhood! It's so much easier when God has overseen the challenges we face and is giving us the Biblical back-up to accept what lies before us. :)

  10. Hi Tristan, just stopping by to say how delightful your blog is. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris

  11. So needed to hear your post this evening!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you!
    Love ya

  12. It sounds like you found some good motivation. I had a friend that recently started this free 7 day program and has lost 23 lbs! She says that it just falls off and that it has helped her feel a lot better. It might be worth checking out.

    God bless!


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